Which Eyer founded Bloomsburg?
Moyer brothers helped build town
Mayors of Bloomsburg
President Hayes comes to Bloomsburg
First Hospital in Bloomsburg
Founding of the Bloomsburg Fair
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"Pennsylvania's Only Incorporated Town"
By Edwin M. Barton, Historian for Columbia County Historical Society
Bloomsburg, on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, has a population of 12,375. It enjoys the distinction of being the only incorporated town in Pennsylvania. Other municipalities of this approximate size are generally boroughs. This distinction arises from a special act of incorporation passed by the General Assembly on March 4, 1870. The community leaders of that time, desiring to establish a municipality, found it difficult to set off the built-up section from Bloom Township in such a manner that it would not leave the remainder of
the township with population too small to support a township government and also too widely divided in territory. A prominent state and national figure at that time, a resident of Bloomsburg and a member of the State Senate, Charles R. Buckalew, solved the difficulty by securing the passage of the special act of incorporation, noted above, which made the boundaries of the new municipality coterminous with Bloom Township. This arrangement resembles that of the New
England towns, and, it is inferred, the new municipality was designated town for that reason. Buckalew, a diligent student of government, was able to secure in this act of incorporation, the embodiment of several other distinctive features, most of which, but not all, are still in effect.
Bloomsburg's earliest development was closely associated with the Indian period of American history. The Susquehannock Indians were the first occupants of the Susquehanna River Valley which served as a major route into Central New York State.
The only reminder of the original inhabitants is the legacy of colorful Indian names such as Susquehanna, Catawissa, Nescopeck, and Shickshinny.
Peaceful settlement brought about an influx of early squatters and land speculators. The protected bottom lands along the river were occupied first, followed by the occupancy of higher lands. In 1772, James McClure came to the area from Lancaster and built a log cabin near the banks of the Susquehanna within the present Town limits.
In 1781, a wooden stockade was constructed around the McClure dwelling to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Today, all that remains of the Fort McClure site is a one-room cabin, which is open to the public.
The Bloomsburg area was largely self-sufficient at first, but gradually developed a need to find markets for surplus products. The construction of new roads and the opening of the North Branch Canal, encouraged an influx of new settlers and stimulated the economy.
The discovery of iron ore nearby gave rise to a flourishing iron industry that lasted three-quarters of a century.
Bloom Township, as it was known until the mid-1800's was one of the original 12 townships which comprised Columbia County in 1813. Various portions were taken from it to be added to surrounding townships, and in 1870, the remainder was organized as the Town of Bloomsburg.
The turn of the century brought about a substantial change in Bloomsburg's economy. The iron ore was exhausted, and the agricultural base was depleted. New types of businesses were introduced. Textile mills began to locate here, such as Magee Carpets. These were supplemented by numerous small manufacturing enterprises that established the diversified pattern that characterizes the present economy of Bloomsburg.
Bloomsburg is located in the heart of Columbia County, is the county seat.
The Central Business District has experienced an economic and aesthetic revitalization. The Downtown has become a model to other communities involved in similar activities. A section of the town has been named a National Historic District, opening the way for the refurbishing of its fine residential architecture.
The campus of Bloomsburg University immediately adjoins the Downtown and contributes to the community in many ways.
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Lions Club, Kiwanis, Rotary and over 100 other clubs and organizations are represented. The Bloomsburg Pubic Library contains 26,500 volumes and is easily accessible in the downtown area.
The community's health care needs are met by the Bloomsburg Hospital and the resources of the area's physicians.
The Annual Renaissance Jamboree, the Bloomsburg University Community Arts Council and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble contribute to a rich cultural diversity.
The Bloomsburg Area School District and the Central Columbia School District serve the community with fine academic and vocational learning experiences. Additional opportunities are provided by the Columbia Montour Area Vocational-Technical School. Four private schools, St. Columba, Bloomsburg Christian School, Columbia County Christian School and the Greenwood Friends School, compliment the educational offerings available in the Bloomsburg area.
A beautiful, safe, and healthy environment, combined with the benefits of a diverse and progressive community, great location, cultural tradition, quality education and outdoor fun, make Bloomsburg an ideal place to raise a family and operate a profitable business.
The governing body of the Town is made up of six members and the presiding officer, the Mayor. The terms of the mayor and council members are four years, with three elected every two years. It is generally felt that this form of government is superior in a number of respects to that provided for the boroughs. Council members are elected at large and they feel that they are serving the entire
municipality, rather than giving undue attention to the special interests of the ward that elected them. The Mayor, who is President of the Council, presides at all meetings. Furthermore, being a member, the Mayor participates in all discussions and has a vote on all questions, but does not have a veto. All of these provisions differ from the Borough Code.
There has always been in Bloomsburg a public spirit in which, generally, all persons will "put their shoulders to the wheel" and make the "coach of progress" roll along despite obstacles. When Columbia County was created in 1813, the county seat was Danville, a location far removed from the center. Later, after a long struggle it was finally brought to Bloomsburg, mainly by the efforts of
its citizens. One of the opposition arguments was the cost of the transfer, to which the Bloomsburg leaders responded that the transfer would be at no cost to the taxpayers. Private property was donated and one citizen fired the bricks and donated them for new construction.
When it was proposed that the Sixth District State Normal School be located at Bloomsburg, again private sponsored subscription lists and personally pledged from their private resources the considerable funds needed to carry the institution past its initial struggles, including a disastrous fire. This particular struggle was during the financial stringencies of the 1870's. Now these efforts are rewarded by the magnificent Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, with an enrollment of nearly 6,000 students.
The neglected river front needed improvement. Planners got to work and hundreds, literally, rolled up their sleeves, and now Town Park, a beautiful river front park has resulted. Campaigns, work days, and family festivals at the park each year engender enthusiasm and give all a feeling of personal ownership in the park. Other sources also provide needed funds by which improvements and expansion are continuously achieved.
The old "swimming holes" gradually became inadequate under modern urban conditions, and a loan was floated through a Park Authority. The results were a swimming pool and wading pool with proper control and safety precautions. This facility is located at Town Park.
Using a Parking Authority, the Town some years ago provided about 200 off-street parking places and is currently doubling this number. One of the by-products of this improvement was the change from diagonal parking on Main Street to parallel parking. The result has been to make the town's Main Street a splendid business and shopping center.
By still further use of the Municipal Authority the Town was among the first to face its responsibility in the clean streams program of Pennsylvania and floated a bond issue of $1.25 million to provide a combined sewage disposal and incinerator plant. Several modern and attractive school buildings have been built also through a municipal authority.
Also, through the initiative of its citizens, the Town was early in securing a splendid library. The Bloomsburg Public Library has recently doubled the size of the original building. The Columbia County Traveling Library, housed in the Bloomsburg Library, serves all of Columbia County except Berwick, which has its own library.
Confronted with a threat of economic stagnation in the 1950's, the rejuvenated Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce initiated a movement for the creation of the Bloomsburg Area Industrial Development Association (BAIDA) and secured generous subscriptions to implement it. Significant expansion
has already been secured and; further, the Town and the whole area associated with it are now in a strategic position to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the excellent highway system and associated improvements in transportation.
Perhaps you will visit Bloomsburg at the time of the outstanding Bloomsburg Fair, one of the largest in Pennsylvania, held late in September or early October. Featured are harness races and exhibits of unusually wide range of agricultural, horticultural, manufacturing industries, in almost endless profusion and of quality hardly to be surpassed.
Where once Bloomsburg was a combination of crossroads in a country village with few locally-based industries, it has now become a textile town catering to an international as well as a national market producing carpets, knitted goods, silk fabrics and ladies undergarments. In addition, as is appropriate to its name, it is a leader in the cut-flower industry. The influence from its proximity to Interstate 80, which traverses its northern edge, with two interchanges almost at its boundaries has resulted in economic expansion in canning industries, printing and metal fabricating. These growth achievements have been and are guided by an active and alert Columbia Mountour Chamber of Commerce and a cooperative spirit on the part of local governments of the region; especially Bloomsburg Town Council.
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Which Eyer founded Bloomsburg
From Celebrate Bloomsburg 1802-2002
Published in the Press Enterprise, Bloomsburg, PA
June 28, 2002 by W.M. Baillie
Ludwig's tombstone misleading, John Adam true town proprietor
Who founded Bloomsburg? Like most early towns in central Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg did not grow up haphazardly but was laid out in lots by a developer as a moneymaking venture. Traditionally, Bloomsburg's founding in 1802 has been ascribed to settler Ludwig Eyer on the strength of the inscription on his tombstone in the old Lutheran Reformed cemetery in Bloomsburg (later moved to Rosemont Cemetery):
IN Memory of LUDWIG EYER Born Jany. 8, 1767. Died Sept. 20, 1814. In the 48, Year of his Age. He left a Widow, 6 sons, & 4 daughters, to deplore his loss. He was proprietor of Bloomsburg, laid out in 1802, and presented this square [= 3 lots] to the Lutheran and Presbn Congregation, for a Church & burying ground, in 1807.
In fact, however, the man who owned the property and sold the town's first lots and hence was legally the "Proprietor" of the venture, was Ludwig's older brother, John Adam Eyer, a schoolteacher in far-off Northampton County. Ludwig's widow, in a sworn court petition in 1814, stated plainly that in 1802 John Adam Eyer bought the land in question from his brother Ludwig and "laid out part into Town lots"-and the recorded deeds support her statement. The conflicting sources may both be correct, in a way: the two Eyer brothers evidently acted jointly in an informal partnership to establish the village, John Adam as the financier and absentee landlord and Ludwig, as the onsite agent (and after 1807, legal agent of his brother). Technically, however, John Adam was the town's original proprietor.
John Adam Eyer was born July 27, 1755 in Bucks county, eldest son of Martin Eyer and Dorothea Beischer. The father was a German Lutheran immigrant from Alsace (now in France) who arrived in America on the ship Ann at Philadelphia, Sept. 28, 1794 and settled in Northampton County. When just thirteen years of age, his son John Adam served as baptismal sponsor for his infant cousin Johan Adam Beischer, and the young many showed precocious abilities to learning languages, art, penmanship and music. In 1779 he began his career as "Shulediener" or schoolmaster in German-speaking Lutheran and Mennonite one-room schools in south-eastern Pennsylvania, a career which continued successfully for over fifty years.
The last thirty years of his teaching were at the earliest school in Hamilton Township in (modern) Monroe County, about seven miles from Stroudsburg. In the log school there, next to the Lutheran/Reformed Union Church, he had as many as sixty students enrolled. The schoolmaster was later remembered in an 1886 Monroe County History as "very popular with both parents and children, not less for his tact and discipline than for his genial and kindly nature."
But J.A. Eyer also had other talents in addition to teaching: He was a successful financier and is now famous for his art. The schoolmaster was a shrewd businessman, trusted by his family, neighbors and church with numerous financial dealings on their behalf. At the Hamilton Lutheran Church, where he served as organist, he was the secretary of the church council and when the original log building no longer was adequate, he was named the collector of funds for the building of a new church, a handsome stone structure completed in 1829 and still today in regular use. In the cornerstone of that building was placed the "Articles" or constitution of the church drawn up and beautifully inscribed by Adam Eyer.
Head of Family
Never married, John Adam also was trusted as the head of his extended family. The family farm west of the church in Hamilton Township was deeded in his name, though his parents' funds had purchased the land and they lived there along with John Adam and his brother Henry's growing family. The schoolmaster bought and sold various lots and lands in the area, usually making a tidy profit. The inventory of his estate indicates also that at the time of his death in 1837 he held outstanding loans of up to $200 to some forty family members and neighbors-he was evidently serving as the local banker, and becoming a wealthy man in the process.
It was in this connection that John Adam Eyer became in 1802 the original Proprietor of the town laid out along Fishing Creek, some seventy miles from his home, first called "Eyer Staeddel" (Eyer's Village) and later Bloomsburg. His brother Ludwig, a fuller and dyer by trade, had settled along the creek and in 1798 bought 92+ acres of farmland nearby from his father-in-law John Long. The surviving records aren't specific, but it appears that Ludwig and John Adam worked together to lay out the northern part of this acreage in lots and streets to form a town (now, First to Third Streets, Center to West Streets). As the learned brother, John Adam probably drew up the plat and surveyed the land. On June 5, 1802 John Adam bought the land from his brother (who may have been in financial difficulties), and just two days later on June 7 he sold the first of the original lots. For a few years, John Adam periodically made the long trek from Hamilton Township to sign deeds and complete sales, but in 1807 he entrusted Ludwig, who lived on the scene, with formal power to attorney to manage sales for him. John Adam, meanwhile, evidently was active back in recruiting prospective lot-buyers, for more than half of the early purchasers of lots in the new village were from the area of (then) Northampton County or the adjacent counties in New Jersey.
Within a dozen years, John Adam had disposed of more than three-fourths of the original ninety-six lots, along with several parcels of "out-lots" nearby. The "unimproved" lots sold for about $20 at first, rising to $45-$56 ten years later; by 1814 the recorded sales total some $2, 850, a handsome return on John Adam's original investment of about $1,200. IN 1811 he gave 13 lots to his brother Ludwig, apparently to compensate Ludwig for his pains in making sales and recording deeds at the county seat in Sunbury; Ludwig, however, died soon after, leaving ten children in impecunious circumstances.
While the name of John Adam Eyer is largely unrecognized in the town he founded, the name is now famous among collectors of American folk art. In common with the Pennsylvania Dutch schoolmasters, John Adam practiced the art of fraktur, adorning text pages with calligraphy and colorful drawings. His work was distinctive, often innovative, and so widely imitated that today's art historians speak routinely of the "Adam Eyer style" in manuscript folk art. The standard guide to frakturs lists about a hundred of his surviving works, and many other probably remain unrecognized, since he signed very few of his pieces. Long "forgotten" as an artist, John Adam Eyer since 1980 had had a remarkable rediscovery among collectors; in 1 1999 Sotheby's sale, two of his works sold for over $20,000 apiece.
The term fraktur refers to a specific calligraphic style of German Gothic lettering, but has come to be used for a whole class of fancy illustrated texts, hand-written or printed, widely current in Pennsylvania Dutch culture especially from 1770 to 1840. Schoolmaster J.A. Eyer's decorated hand-written texts were of several types. Most common were Vorschriften, exemplars of penmanship executed for his pupils, sometimes as an award for superior learning; these typically included inspiring religious or moral verses-some of which he composed himself-decorated with colorful artwork. Adam's most important innovation was in music-books providing the melody line of hymns and secular songs (German-culture hymnals at the time printed only the words of hymns, without tunes); this useful production was widely imitated and Adam's brother and nephew later printed various music books which probably included original music by Adam. Another type of fraktur was the marriage greeting-a page celebrating a wedding and encouraging the couple's pious married life, and still another type was gift-texts, such as a circular spiral-written religious text presented to a student, and bookmarks. Curiously, Adam prepared few of the most common type of fraktur art, the baptismal certificate. All these varieties of hand-lettered text pages were illuminated with his characteristic designs of twining ivy, tulips, hearts, facing pairs of birds or Sophia angles, and /or occasionally cartoon-like human figures, all usually boldly colored in cheerful reds, blues and greens.
In sum, then the 2022 Bloomsburg Bicentennial is a fitting time to "rediscover" the original Proprietor, who though at a distance, was the force behind the auspicious beginning of the only Town in Pennsylvania. As beloved schoolmaster, honored business and talented artist, the figure of John Adam Eyer is the appropriate emblem of the town's continued fostering of education, commerce and the arts.
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Moyer brothers helped build town
They were shot of stature but giants in determination to accomplish, were the three Moyer brothers, who spread the name and fame of the firm which they composed far beyond the confines of the state.
Were one to look back over the history of Bloomsburg from the eighties until well after the turn of the century it would be to find there was practically not a single activity in the community that did not enlist the active support of one, if not all. Usually, the committal of one to any project was the committal of all.
The histories of the county are silent on the subject of their lives and activities, but it requires only a memory of the past to state that they were among those who furnished the finances to bring James Magee II to Bloomsburg. That was true as well of the Bloomsburg Silk Mill, of which the elder brothers, Lucas, was president at one time. They were moving spirits in the development of the School Furnishing Works.
The Morning Press, Bloomsburg, PA
February 22, 1940
Names in the order of their age, these three brothers were Lucas N., John L. and William S., the sons of John R. Moyer, who was the first to start in the drug business in Bloomsburg in 1854. It is said of him that he made his trips to Philadelphia twice yearly, by stage as far as Reading and then by rail. There, he purchased his drug supplies and also the high hats and high top boots for which he took orders from the gentry of the community before leaving. His place of business was in one corner of his residence-the same residence that was torn down to make room for the present post office building.
He trained his boys well. Theirs was no sinecure when they came into the business in 1858. Each week two of them started out with their peddlers' wagons and teams while the third remained in the store to handle the business. And when they started out, it was with the prospect of remaining out all week.
And because they work and had a vision they succeeded. It was William S. Moyer who was the moving spirit in the organization of the Farmers National Bank just as he was the moving spirit in the organization of the Irondale Electric Light Company. The Bloomsburg Water Company, upon its organization, found them holders of larger blocks of stock. Believing in Bloomsburg's future, they invested heavily in the Bloomsburg Land Improvement Company.
Thus their record ran through the years. Whenever there came a movement to advance Bloomsburg, they could usually be found with their shoulders to the wheel. Not only were they active in civic affairs, but in the church as well. John L. and William S. were staunch Presbyterians-pillars of the church they were termed in that day. Lucas N. married in the Eyer family-Methodists always-and became a pillar in that church. He was a member of the building committee for the present church home of Bloomsburg Methodist.
A fine heritage is was that these three brothers left behind when they passed on.
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Fair started with a horse race
Lofty elms and majestic maple trees lined the first course of the Columbia County Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Association on a beautiful October afternoon in 1854 when Colonel Joseph Paxton, Dr. John Taggart and Colonel John Freeze entered their horses in a race down the dirt highway leading into the main street of Bloomsburg, the town that Colonel Buckalew loved so much. These men were worldly and had been to many places in Pennsylvania, and they wanted to do something for this thriving community of 3,122 people during the middle of the 19th Century. These honorable men wanted to bring an agricultural fair to the area, and they set about the task of completing the job.
What started as a street fair before the invention of the electric light, of the advent of the "horseless carriage" came to be known in later years as the Great Bloomsburg Fair. The big event was staged in Caleb Barton's field at the lower end of Second Street, now Main Street.
The first few fairs were two or three days long. Patrons arrived as the sun began to peak its beam on the valley, and they left in their horse drown buggies shortly before the sun set in the west. There were chores to be done.
From the outset, the Bloomsburg Fair has played an important role in the history of Bloomsburg. It hasn't always been used strictly for fair purposes. President Lincoln sent an Armed force of a thousand soldiers who encamped on the fairgrounds on Aug. 13, 1864, with an order to scour the country under the command of Major General D.N. Couch to round up insurgents sympathetic to the Confederacy.
The Bloomsburg Fair has continued to grow and be an asset to the Town of Bloomsburg. It has been a source of education, entertainment and agricultural information for last 154 years, and has continued to keep family values as a vital part of its mission.
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Mayors of Bloomsburg
From Celebrate Bloomsburg 1802-2002
Published in the Press Enterprise, Bloomsburg, PA
June 28, 2002 by George Turner
When the Pennsylvania Legislature passed the incorporation act for the town of Bloomsburg, the governor signed it into law on March 4, 1870. It created a town council consisting of seven members and a president of the council. This title "president of council," was in use until Dec. 31, 1961. Passage of a state law that replaced president of council with the title of mayor on Jan. 1, 1962. Joseph C. Conner became the first person to be known as the mayor of Bloomsburg. From the beginning of town council to the present, there are been 43 town residents who have held the title of council or mayor. C. Martin Lutz holds the longest record of serving twelve years as the head of town council.
In the beginning the term length for present of council and council members was only one year and this lasted until 1911. The state enacted legislation that made the term length for president of council and council members two years. Again, the legislature increased the term length to four years beginning in January 1930.
Here is a list of council presidents or mayors, their terms and number of terms and years served:
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Hayes greets Bloomsburg
It being understood last Tuesday that President Hayes and family and members of the Cabinet would pass this point on a special train on Wednesday morning en route for the Centennial ceremonies at Wyoming and the celebration of the Fourth of July at Wilkesbaree, a meeting of citizens was called at the Court House to make arrangements for welcoming the distinguished party to this section of Pennsylvania. The meeting was called to order by J.C. Brown who nominated Judge Elwell as chairman. D.A. Becklye and David Lowenberg were appointed a committee to inform Judge Elwell of his election. The chairman occupied the top of the Court House steps, and a large number of citizens were present in the yard. J.B. Robison and J.C. Brown were elected secretaries. The chairman stated the object of the meeting, and said that it was very proper that we should pay our respects to the Chief Executive of the nation. On motion a committee of thirteen was appointed to welcome the President.
Hon. C.R. Buckalew (former United States Senator, 1863-1869) was elected Chairman of the committee which consisted of the following persons: D. Lowenberg, D.A. Beckley, J.B. Robison, Geo. E. Elwell, J.K. Grotz, C.G. Barkley, A..C. Smith, Wm. Neal, Samuel Knorr, L.J. Moyer, J.J. Bower, Geo. Correll and John Wolf.
On motion the chairman of the meeting was added to the committee. Dennis McDonald, H.C. Bittenbender and W.B. Poust were appointed a committee on Decoration. The Bloomsburg Silver Cornet Band was invited to be present at the depot, and the meeting adjourned.
On Wednesday morning before six o'clock crowds of people began flocking to the D.L. & W. depot, and at about half past six the train appeared in site. The locomotive was gorgeously decorated with flags. The train stopped so that the rear end of the last car stood across Market street.
Mr. Buckalew and Judge Elwell boarded the train and soon appeared at the door accompanied by the first President of the United States who was ever appeared in Bloomsburg.
There was much confusion and pushing in the effort made by everybody to get near enough to hear what was said. After the noise had somewhat subsided Mr. Buckalew spoke as follows:
Columbian Democrat, Bloomsburg, PA
July 5, 1878
"Mr. President, on behalf of the citizens of Bloomsburg and of Columbia county, I tender you a sincere and hearty welcome to Northern Pennsylvania. They are gratified to see you amongst them as the representative of the government of our common country. They are gratified also that your visit is upon the occasion of the great celebration in our neighboring valley of Wyoming, and they sincerely wish for your and your companions a pleasant visit, and safe return to Washington."
"Fellow citizens I introduced to you the President of the United States."
President Hayes bowed and the people gave him three hearty cheers. He then spoke in substance as follows.
The President's Speech
"Mr. Buckalew and Fellow citizens. We meet this morning, not politically, but as citizens of one common country. I am glad of this opportunity to stop for few moments in your pleasant village while on the way up one of the most beautiful valleys of your State, to attend the Centennial of the great event. Pennsylvania occupied a prominent place in the early struggles of this country for the independent existence, and so now she occupies a high position in the centennial celebration of some of the greatest events in the early history of this country. We are now on our way to attend the ceremonies at the hundredth anniversary of the Wyoming massacre. I need say no more. It is pleasant to meet in this way. You have heard my voice and I have heard yours and I will now introduce to you a gentleman connected with the government, Mr. John Sherman, Secretary of the Treasury."
Sherman appeared and received three cheers.
"Fellow citizens: I am pleased to meet you and am glad to shake hands with my old friend Mr. Buckalew. I want to tell you a secret and that is that while Republicans and Democrats often oppose each other, they can also be the best of friends. I have not often voted with Mr. Buckalew, and yet we have frequently measures, and there is no man for whom I have a greater respect than for your distinguished townsman."
The President then introduced Attorney General Devens, who appeared in the car door just as the train started and he had only time to say "I am very happy to meet you all." The crowd cheered, the band played, and the presidential party was gone. The demonstration was a hearty one and was made by all, irrespective of creed, color, sex or politics.
The President invited Mr. Buckalew and Judge Elwell to join his party, but they had made different arrangements and were unable to accept.
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Ratti helped form Bloom hospital
Dr. John W. Bruner, a Bloomsburg surgeon, was an early proponent of a hospital in Bloomsburg. In pursuing this goal, he sought the help of Joseph Ratti, the principal stockholder of the Bloomsburg Silk Mill, who readily agreed to endorse the project. This was a logical choice since he had been known to favoring a hospital in the town. As an businessman involved in community affairs, Ratti took an active role for forming an organization that included several prominent business leaders on March 8, 1905, to lead the effort to establish the hospital.
He bought the home of W.L. Ritter at 587 East Fifth St., northwest corner of East Fifth and Spruce Streets for $4,500, and made it available to be converted into a hospital. From a community fund drive that raised $6,190 along with Ratti's contribution of $5,000, there was enough money to transform the home into a hospital and provide the necessary medical equipment for a modern medical facility. In appreciation for his philanthropy and to recognize his leadership, the hospital board decided to name it the Joseph Ratti Hospital. A local newspaper remarked that "his philanthropy, never ostentatious, was manifest on all sides and many of his employees can testify to his liberality in ways that had no bearing on business."
The hospital consisted of three stories and was substantially enlarged with an addition on the upperside of the structure. It had modern plumbing and an elevator. The first floor had two wards each having three beds, offices, kitchen, dining room, and an emergency room. A children's ward was on the second floor along with a few private patient rooms, operating room and a laboratory. The third floor contained two public wards, linen closet, and storage room.
Joseph Ratti at the age of 61 died unexpectedly on Oct. 25, 1906, while visiting his native home, Rogeno, near Milano, Italy. At the time of Ratt's death, he had not transferred the deed for the hospital property to the hospital corporation. However, his heirs in 1907 gave the deed to the corporation.
Five years later, in July 1912, Bloomsburg was the opening of the new and larger hospital, four-storied brick structure, just west of the old hospital. In the same years the hospital decided to change its name to "Bloomsburg Hospital" to "remove the impression of the public that it was a private hospital conducted for personal gain."
Bloomsburg's first two hospital buildings on East Fifth Street still exist but are used as apartment buildings.
From Celebrate Bloomsburg 1802-2002
Published in the Press Enterprise, Bloomsburg, PA
June 28, 2002